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Journalism Degree Still a Viable Option

These past several years we have watched the slow fade of a once-eminent industry: the newspaper and periodical publishing industries. Newspapers have closed, magazines have shut down; we are observing the slow death of the "dead tree media" as we have known it.

That does not mean the field of journalism is dead. The power of the emerging news and entertainment sources online is illustrated by today's announcement of Jim VandeHei to the Pulitzer Prize Board. He is the co-founder and editor of one of Washington's primary online news sources, Politico.com. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1994 with a journalism degree and moved to Washington, where he wrote for an assortment of special interest newsletters, ultimately covering Capitol Hill for both the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

In 2007 he founded Politico with his Washington Post editor and a friend from Time Magazine; the result has been a highly respected and commercially successful online news outlet. It's nice to see an online news entrepreneur be recognized for his success and his company's legitimacy, but what is most relevant to those interested in journalism careers is the fact that after two years in business, Politico.com has 100 employees.

An online publication must have writers, layout designers and graphic artists just as newspapers and magazines do. Someone with a multimedia degree can find a career in online journalism. In the case of this online publication, a graduate in political science or liberal arts might also be considered for employment.

The past generation's journalism graduates broke in to the business with small newspapers or weekly journals. Today people who are interested in writing for a living often cut their teeth on blogs or one of the Internet's content mills such as Ezine or Associated Content. Bloggers with opinions gravitate to political sites.

It's an acknowledged fact that everything happens faster in today's world of instant publication - and often, that applies to personal recognition as well. Good writers and good digital visual artists have instant portfolios for potential employers to click on, giving job searches and interviews a rapid - and different - qualification process. So don't look on good writing or commercial artwork as lost career opportunities. They just aren't printed on paper anymore.

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